Dealing with Cerebral Palsy: A Resource for Parents and Family (Part II)

This post was authored by Jason Penn and posted to The Eye Opener on June 9th, 2011.

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In Part I of this series I provided a basic introduction to dealing with cerebral palsy.  I also provided Maryland parents with a comprehensive list of places that are able to assist parents.  Today I will discuss educating children with cerebral palsy and, as always, I will provide you with a list of places to turn if you need help.

Educating your child

The thought of educating any child is a daunting topic.  Educating your special needs child can present a variety of challenges and pitfalls.  It is unlikely that any singular blog post could ever cover every facet of educating your special needs child.  What I can do, however, is provide you with an introduction to the topic, its terminology, and finally give you a list of resources that you can turn to for additional help.

As we introduced last week, children that have special needs that impact his/her ability to learn at school often qualify for an Individual Education Plan.  An IEP is a legal document created to ensure your child’s teacher, staff and administration understands his learning and other limitations and utilizes the best practices to ensure that he gets the education that he/she deserves.  An IEP is federally funded and falls under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or “IDEA.” IDEA entitles your child to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) designed “to meet unique needs and prepare for employment and independent living” (20 U.S.C.A. 1400(d)(1)(A)).  Just as every child is different, every child’s IEP should be different.  Here are some of the accommodations that can be included in your child’s IEP:

-classroom accommodations, e.g. special table

-curriculum modification

-speech and/or occupational therapy

Be forewarned, anecdotally, many parents have reported that obtaining an IEP for their child has been difficult.  Be not dismayed, a document binding the school to provide your child with the specialized attention that he/she needs is invaluable.  Please utilize the resources listed below to assist you in getting all necessary help for your child.

When it has been determined that your child has a mental or physical disability that impairs his learning, the school will set up an IEP meeting. An IEP team is formed and includes:

-Your child

-Parent or guardian

-A district representative

-A special educator

-Other teachers who will be involved in your child’s education

You and the IEP team will meet to discuss your child’s specific needs and goals for the school year. Steps will be outlined as to how your child will be accommodated each day in the classroom. A progress report should then be sent to you periodically to demonstrate that your child is indeed meeting her IEP learning goals.

Lastly, keep in mind that if your child does not qualify for an IEP, he/she may qualify for a 504 Plan, a document legislated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 504 Plans are less specific than an IEP and, unfortunately, do not have the legal teeth that an IEP has. Another alternative is to try to qualify your child for an Other Health Impaired (OHI) plan. An OHI is like a “last resort” document for kids who are denied a 504 Plan or an IEP. Essentially, OHI status was created to satisfy parents who insist that their child needs documented assistance in school.

Not sure where to turn?  Below is the up-to-date contact information for agencies in the District of Columbia and Maryland that can assist you.

Parental Support:

UCP of Washington DC & Northern Virginia
1818 New York Avenue, NE, Suite 101
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 526-0146
Fax: (202) 526-0519
3135 8th Street NE
Washington DC 20017
Phone: (202) 269-1500
Fax: (202) 526-0159

Office on Aging
441 4th Street, NW, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 676-3900

Regional ADA Technical Assistance Agency
ADA and IT Information Center for the Mid Atlantic Region
451 Hungerford Drive, Suite 607
Rockville, MD 20850
Phone: (301) 217-0124 (V/TTY); (800) 949-4232 (V/TTY/Toll Free)

Capitol Area ADAPT
Marcie Roth
Phone: (410) 828-8274; (410) 821-1157
Fax: (410) 828-6706

The Cerebral Palsy Ability Center (CPAC)
2445 Army-Navy Drive, 3rd Floor
Arlington, VA 22206
Phone: (703) 920-0600
Fax: (703) 685-2819

State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council
DC Developmental Disabilities Council
Department of Human Services/801 East Building
2700 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, S.E.
Washington, DC 20032
Phone: (202) 279-6085

Easter Seal Society for Disabled Children & Adults, Inc.
Metro. DC, Northern VA, & MD
4041 Powder Mill Road
Calverton, MD 20705
Phone: (301) 931-8700; (800) 886-3771 (Toll Free)
Fax: (301) 931-8690

Goodwill Industries Greater Washington
2200 South Dakota Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20018
Phone: (202) 636-4225
Fax: (202) 526-3994

Family Voices Washington DC
Gail Johnson
Phone: (301) 470-0256

Programs for Children with Special Health Care Needs
Health Services for Children with Special Needs Clinic
D.C. General Hospital, Building 10
19th & Massachusetts Avenue, S.E.
Washington, DC 20003
Phone: (202) 675-5214

CHIP Program (health care for low-income uninsured children)
DC Healthy Families Insurance Program
4601 North Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22203
Phone: (888) 557-1116 (Toll Free)

Learning Disabilities Association of Washington, DC
1848 Columbia Road, NW, #45
Washington, DC 20009
Phone: (202) 265-8869; (410) 396-0518

The Arc of the District of Columbia, Inc.
900 Varnum Street, NE
Washington, DC 20017
Phone: (202) 636-2950

Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Institute
801 Buchanan Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20017
Phone: (202) 281-2774

State Mental Retardation Program
Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities Administration
Commission on Social Services
Department of Human Services
429 O Street, N.W., #202
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 673-7678
TTY: (202) 673-3580

American Association on Mental Retardation
444 North Capitol Street NW, #846
Washington DC 20001
Phone: (202) 387-1968; (800) 424-3688 (Toll Free)
Fax: (202) 387-2193

Programs for Children and Youth who are Blind or Visually Impaired
Visual Impairment Unit
DC Rehabilitation Services Administration
810 1st Street, N.E., 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 442-8628

Special Format Library
District of Columbia Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
901 G Street, N.W., Room 215
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 727-2142
TTY: (202) 727-2145

American Foundation for the Blind
11 Penn Plaza, Suite 300
New York, NY 10001
Phone: (212) 502-7600
TTY: (212) 502-7662

DC Early Intervention Program
717 14th Street, N.W., Suite 1200
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 727-5371

Mayor’s Committee on Persons with Disabilities
810 First Street, NE
Room 10015
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 442-8673
Fax: (202) 442-8742

D.C. Vocational Rehabilitation Agency
Rehabilitation Services Administration
Department of Human Services
810 First Street, NE, 10th Floor
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 442-8663

State Job Training Partnership Act
Department of Employment Services
500 C Street, NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 724-7100

Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
D.C. Congress of Parents and Teachers
Hamilton School
6th Street & Brentwood Parkway, NE
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 543-0333
Fax: (202) 543-4306

The National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education (NCPIE)
P.O. Box 39
1201 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 822-8405
Fax: (202) 822-4050

Parents’ Special Education Service Center
Phone: (202) 471-4272

Special Olympics District of Columbia
900 2nd Street, N.E., Suite 200
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 408-2640
Fax: (202) 408-2646

Nation’s Capital Handicapped Sports
P.O. Box 1546
Olney, MD 20830-1546
Phone/Fax: (301) 208-8949

Washington D.C. Education Resources:

Chief State School Officer
District of Columbia Public Schools
The Presidential Building
415 12th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004
Phone: (202) 724-4222
Fax: (202) 724-8855

Office of State Coordinator of Vocational Education for Students with Disabilities
Vocational Transition Services Unit
Walker Jones Elementary School
1st and K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 724-3878

State Department of Adult Education
Public Schools Vocational and Adult Education
1709 3rd Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 576-6308
Fax: (202) 576-7899

Department of Education: Special Education
Division of Special Education
DC Public Schools
825 North Capitol Street, N.E., Suite 6100
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 442-4800

State Coordinator for NCLB (No Child Left Behind)
Division of Special Education
DC Public Schools
825 North Capitol Street, N.E., 6th Floor
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 442-4800

Branch of Exceptional Education/BIA
Mail Stop 3512, MIB Code 523
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 202040-4000
Phone: (202) 208-4975
Fax: (202) 273-0030

Maryland Education Resources:

Carol Ann Baglin, Assistant State Superintendent
Department of Education, Division of Special Education
Early Intervention Services
200 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-2595
(410) 767-0238

Query:  Have you obtained an IEP for your child?  Did you have any opposition from your child’s teachers or school administrators?

Sneak Peek:  Next week (Part III of this series) we will provide Educational Resources for Parents in Maryland and present critical medical information that parents of CP children need to be aware of.

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